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You won’t believe these simple hacks for lighting up a dark room

If you have a room that would benefit from a little more illumination, there are many tips and tricks to do just that. Not only are there certain lighting options available for dark rooms, but there are also other things you can do with decor, paint, curtains, textiles, and more to bring light into any room. Dark rooms can be cozy as a snug, library, study, or master bedroom, but even the moodiest of rooms need some light to be functional.

Obviously, if you are building a new home or remodeling, adding or expanding windows to bring in more natural light is preferable. However, for a more limited remodeling project, try out a few of these simple hacks to brighten up a dark space. We’re sure you’ll love them!

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How can I brighten up a room without natural light?

One of the easiest ways to lighten up a dark room is with paint. Choose a natural color palette filled with whites, ivories, and pale yellows to make the room feel more spacious and open. You can also choose high-gloss paint for the ceiling that complements the more neutral walls. This will draw the eye up and out, creating the illusion of more space and brightness. Gloss is also reflective, so it will magnify any of the light already in the space.

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How can I use decor to lighten up a room?

Incorporate artwork with bright colors like blues and yellows to counteract the darkness of the room. Dark rooms present the perfect opportunity to try out a more maximalist approach, so add in a ton of artwork, decor, clocks, and pictures to minimize the amount of dark space that’s visible.

Mirrors are also a great way to reflect any lighting you have in the room, be it natural or not. Choose mirrors with metallic frames to bounce even more light off. You can also use mirrored or transparent furniture (which works especially well with modern or retro designs) to reflect the light available. When possible, choose lifted furniture so light can pass underneath.

How do you add natural light to a dark room?

Adding windows to a room is a classic way to bring in more natural light, but if you have the budget and time for a larger renovation, consider adding a skylight. By bringing in light overhead, the space feels more open and gives you the chance to really feel the sun on your skin. If you have windows already (even if they are small), make sure to clean them regularly to let all the light shine in. If you have trees in front of the windows blocking any sunlight, you may want to trim them back a bit. Make sure there is no large furniture blocking the windows as well.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

What lighting fixtures work best in a dark space?

When choosing lighting fixtures, make sure their shape and placement deliver the maximum amount of lighting in the areas of the room that need it the most. If the corners of the room are dimly lit, consider putting floor lamps there to push the light up toward the ceiling. If you need accent lighting, install sconces on either side of a metallic mirror. If it’s the center of the room that needs a boost, we suggest pendant lights that shine light downward and reflect off all the surfaces. Be mindful of the ideal wattage for all of your fixtures so you can ensure you’re using the highest wattage possible.

Ensuring you have a light, bright space not only helps when you are cooking, getting ready in the morning, reading, and going about your daily life, but it can also improve your mood. Dr. Alan Lewis, a lecturer on Architectural Studies at The University of Manchester, told The Independent: “Visible light helps the human body to regulate the production of the hormone melatonin, which in turn helps to regulate our body clock, affecting sleep patterns and digestion. [It] also helps to stimulate the body’s production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can reduce the symptoms of depression,”

If you don’t have the inclination or budget for a major remodel, these few methods above can go a long way toward brightening up any room. Just a few simple tweaks to the paint, decor, and light fixtures can make a major improvement to how much lighter the room (and you) will feel.

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Julie Scagell
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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